William Evans.

The Friends' library: comprising journals, doctrinal treatieses, & other writings of members of the religious Society of Freinds online

. (page 57 of 104)
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Id the aAernoon had a good time in reverent
silent waiting throughout the meeting. Feel-
ing an intimation of duty to appoint a meet-
ing for the youth of this city, both the chil-
dren of Friends and others who inclined to
attend our meetings, I mentioned it to a Friend
at the close of the aAernoon meeting, and
the members of the select meeting being con-
sulted, and uniting with my prospect, notice
was given and a large number attended, at
nine o'clock the following morning. A pre-
cious solemnity soon spread over us, and
strength was given me to minister the word
of encouragement to them ,* and dear Mary
Mifflin was engaged to offer thanksgiving and
praises for past and present favours.

After attending the week-day meeting at
Elkridge, and the Preparative Meeting of Bal-
timore, I felt at liberty to leave this flourish-
ing city, which we did accordingly on the fol-
lowing morning, parting with divers Friends
in near brotherly feeling, which had increased
the longer we remained with them. There is
a number of precious Friends in this place,
and others who have need of more humility
and a greater conformity to the simplicity of
Truth. We rode to Gun-powder, and were
cordially received by Oliver Matthews and
family, although they had to leave their beds
to admit us. We were wet and weary, and
did not rise as early next morning as usual,
but our aged friend had led his home as soon
as day dawned, and did not return until near
noon, when he informed us he had been riding
round the country, notifying the people of our
being at nneeting, thus evidencing a love to
the cause, which is much wanting with many.

Their meeting on first-day, was large, and
held in solemn stillness a considerable time,
when I stood up with a view of saying only a
few words ; but as I expressed them delibe*
rately, ^he necessity of the professors of Chris-
tianity leading a holy upright life, opened and
pressed upon my mind, so that I stood long,
which occasioned a hard ride to reach a meet*
ing appointed at Patapsco falls, at five o'clock
that afternoon. On arriving, we found a num-
ber of people collected, who were not Friends-
some of them appeared ignorant and unsettled
in mind, others solid and quiet, and it was
upon the whole a favoured season; humble
prayers being put up to the Giver of every
good and perfect gift, that he would be pleased
to bless the people with an increase of know«
ledge, in those things which belong to their
everlasting peace — that wars and fightings
might cease, and the professors of Christi-
anity be incited to the due observance of
those pure and excellent precepts, left by
Christ for the government of his followers —
and thus be prepared to feel with the afflicted;
and that by doing unto others ias they would
others should do unto them, slavery might
come to an end.

Next day rode to Pipe creek; and the
farmers being generally busy in securing the
harvest, we concluded to wait for the usual
meeting, which we attended, and one on the
day following at Bush creek, and then pro-
ceeded to Fairfax.

Seventh month, 12th. Reflecting pensively
upon my present situation, far from home and
from my dear family, I penned the following
petition : — ^^ O Lord 1 thou hast been with roe
hitherto, and by thy power I have been pre-
served in a good degree of resignation to thy
will. Continue to afford me thy counsel, and
I will endeavour to obey thee; send me where-
ever, or to whomsoever, thou seest fit. Thou
hast separated me from my dear friends and
tender connexions, a beloved wife and chil-
dren, but I have no cause to complain — I ask
not for riches or honour from man. It is
thy supporting presence I crave, that I may
be kept in my allotment and be enabled to do
whatsoever thou yet hast for me to do. Bless
my dear connexions and friends wjth sensible
and feeling hearts, that in the covenant of life,
we may be united in thanksgiving for all the
many favours and blessings thou hast vouch-

14th. At Fairfax nneeting I was concerned
to bear testimony against the sin of drunken-
ness, many not Friends being present: the
audience appeared deeply impressed with the
subject, wliile I held up to view scenes of
su£fering, but too common, which innocent
children and wives had to endure, sometimes

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of personal abuse, and sonnetimes the want
even of the common necessaries of life, where
husbands and fathers spent their time and
earnings at tippling houses; and some, the es-
tates which had been left to them, in a riotous
course of living. Parents were tenderly plead-
ed with, to endeavour to train up their chil-
dren in the fear of the Lord, that thus they
might escape the snares of death. But, alas!
how lanientable is the situation of some of the
descendants of Friends, whose parents have
been more concerned to obtain a large share
of temporal goods, than to seek heavenly trea-
sure. Some of these have not only become
alienated from Friends, but have strayed far
from the paths of rectitude in social life, join-
ing in scenes of dissipation, and thus have
wasted what their parents have scraped to-
gether for the purpose of advancing them in
the world. Some of this description were
present ; and although I was a stranger to it,
unacquainted with them or the manner in
which they spent their time and substance,
yet my testimony against such and their neg-
ligent, earthly minded parents, was clear and
plain, accompanied with that love which flows
from a Divine source, the influence of which
operated on the minds of the hearers, and a
solemn quiet prevailed. Truly, the Lord hath
no pleasure in the death of him that dieth, and
his mercy is extended in this day, as formerly,
when his warnings, expostulations and entrea-
ties were oflen renewed unto revolting Israel,
to Judah and to Ephraim. *'How shall I give
thee up, Ephraim ? how shall I deliver thee,
Israel ? how shall I make thee as Admah, or
set thee as Zeboim ?" What may be the effect
of the labours thus bestowed in the love of
the Gospel, is not necessary to be known by
the Lord's servants ; it is enough for them to
have the evidence of Divine approbation, in the
enjoyment of that peace, which the world can
neither give nor take away. This has been
to me a greater inducement to leave all to fol-
low Christ, than instances which have come
to my knowledge of a reformation in individ-
uals, producing comfort and joy to their fami-
lies, and where the acknowledgment has been
made that my labours had been instrumental
to turn their minds unto Him, " who is mighty
to save, and able to deliver to the uttermost,
all who come unto God by him." Yet the
knowledge of these instances also afforded
me encouragement, for I had oflen, in the
course of this journey, to advert to the sin of
drunkenness, and its attendant evils, which
embitter the lives of so many in this land of
boasted liberty and knowledge.

In the afternoon, we attended a meeting
held in the court-house, at Leesburg ; where
the strengthening power of the gracious Head

of the church, enabled me to labour in the
love of the Gospel. We had the company of
two Methodist ministers, who, with their hear-
ers, left their own meeting to attend with us;
also a number of soldiers and coloured peo-
ple, all of whom behaved quietly and appeared

Next day we returned to Waterford, to at-
tend a meeting appointed to be held after an
interment; and a large company attended,
who seemed well satisfied with the 04>portu-
nity. We then attended meetings at Groose
creek. South Fork, the Gap, Berkley, Middle
creek. Upper and Lower Ridge, Hopewell,
Bear Garden, Back creek and Centre. The
following first-day afternoon we had a large
meeting at Winchester, in the Episcopalian
meeting-house, where a great number of the
town's people attended, including several
preachers, and also the few Friends living
there. It was a solid, comfortable time, for
which I was humbly thankful to the Author
of all good, knowing my own insufficiency
for the work in which I was engaged ; much
satisfaction was expressed by the people.

The following day I had meetings at Mount
Pleasant and Crooked run; at the latter of
which I was led to expose the iniquity of the
slave trade, and the practice of holding the
African race in bondage. This was much to
the relief of my own mind, which was often
deeply oppressed with grief, at seeing the suf-
ferings endured by the poor slaves. Their
allowance was one peck of corn for a week,
and this they were sometimes necessitated to
pound in the night, when they should be
asleep, to refresh them for the next day's la-
bour. To this I have often been a witness,
when the noise of the pestle and mortar has
aroused me; and soon after I have been start-
led by the voice of the driver and the snap-
ping of his whip, urging them to the toils of
the day, even before the light had fully ap-
peared. In addition to this, they had to en-
dure the broiling heat of the sun, bare-headed,
both males and females ; the latter with only
one garment to cover them, and the cruel
drivers following them with a large wagon
whip, in order to hasten their speed, using it
freely upon those who fell behind, when hoe*
ing the com or tobacco. At other times I
have seen very aged men and women grub-
bing bushes, so feeble and worn, that their
limbs trembled as they raised their heavy
mattocks ; and others were carrying rails on
their heads from a distant forest. Similar
cruelties I have seen exercised on the house
slaves, upon whom the lash was oflen freely
laid, while they were subject to the kicks and
cufis of the children of the family. At one
time, having laid my horse-whip upon a table

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10 the bftr>rooin of a tavern, I was suddeDly
raised from tny seat by seeing the tavern-
keeper using my whip upon the back of his
negro boy. I stepped to him as quickly as I
could, and got it^ from him, assuring him it
was not accustomed to such business, and he
should have known better than to take it for
that purpose. At another time, my eye caught
the sight of a poor negro's back, who was
rowing us over a ferry, (his shirt being a
mere bunch of rags,) and it appeared like a
piece of raw flesh, from the severe flogging
he had received. It was a most painful, sick-
ening sight, and afl^ted me very much ; the
more so, as he was toiling for our accommo-
dation, for which, however, we paid him, in
addition to what was demanded by his op-
pressor — a practice, I believe, common with
Friends, for a coloured man who attended at
another ferry, told us he was always glad to
see the Quakers come, for then he bad some-
thing given him. It was also our practice to
pay those who took care of our horses, not
always with money, but sometimes with food,
for which they appeared thankful and some-
times manifested surprise at the attention
shown them. It was a general practice for
the waiters at public houses to receive the
scraps lefl by travellers eating at their mas-
ters' tables ; and I was careful at such places
to leave a good portion of meat, &c., remem-
bering that they had appetites to satisfy as
well as myself. But afler all the little I could
do for them, I had to mourn for them and
their oppressors also, whose situation appeared
far from a desirable one. In many places
they seemed to be under great fear, being
careful to secure their lodging rooms with
locks and bolts, and to have their weapons pf
defence at hand, ready to be seized at the
slightest alarm. The influence of the parents'
example, in exercising an arbitrary and cruel
power over the inmates of the house, produced
an evil efiect on the children, whose counte-
nances and conduct, marked with rage and
pride, presented a very different appearance
from what they would, had they b^n taught
to view and to treat the coloured people as the
workmanship of the same Almighty hand as
themselves, and equally the objects of the Re-
deemer's mercy and care, instead of being
made to consider them as little or no better
than the beasts of the field, and not worthy
of the notice which their dogs received. Many
countenances which, but for the passions de-
picted upon them, would have been lovely and
engaging, appeared spoiled and repulsive —
many and great, indeed, are the evil conse-
quences of slavery, both to the oppressed and
the oppressor.
Afler leaving Crooked run, we rode to Jo-

seph Alien's at Smith's creek, and attended
their meeting, where we were comforted to«
gether. We were also introduced into near
sympathy with our friends, Joseph and Eu-
nice Allen, who, a short time previous, had
lost two exemplary daughters with the small-
pox, and a little while before, another was
drowned in attempting to ford a creek, on her
way to attend the Monthly Meeting. Parting
from these dear friends, we went to New Mar-
ket, where but one Friend's family resides. We
had a tendering opportunity with the afllicted
wife of this Friend, and then proceeded about
nine miles, and procured lodging in a poor
open chamber, and next morning at Keese-
town, we parted with the Friends who had
kindly accompanied us from Crooked run.

My companion and I, in company with an-
other Friend, pursued our journey toward
James' river, crossing the Blue mountain at a
place called Rock-fish gap, where we lodged.
A number of travellers and other persons had
put up here, among whom were several rough
and fierce looking men, in pursuit of a run-
away slave, who aAer being once taken by
them had again made his escape into the

As we sat around the supper table, they
were relating the circumstances of his capture
and escape, loading the poor slave with hard
names, and drawing from their fellow slave-
holders the conclusion, that should they take
him again, the most cruel and severe punish-
ments they could inflict would not be too bad
for him. I was grieved at such conversation,
and feeling my spirit stirred against their con-
duct, could not forbear advocating the exer-
tions of the poor runaway to obtain his lib-
erty—calling upon them to make his case
their own^ and think whether there was one
among them all, who, if placed in his situa-
tion, would not use the same means to escape
slavery and punishment. I was soon con-
vinced of the propriety of the caution given
by Christ, "Cast not your pearls before swine,
lest they turn again and rend you :" their an-
ger was raised, and manifested toward me by
furious and wrathful words, and they were so
unreasonable in their conduct, that I con-
cluded it best to say nothing more to them.
The house was in a very solitary place, and
the inmates alike hostile to us, they being also
slave-holders, and from their conduct after we
rose from the supper table, we were not with-
out apprehensions of personal danger. When
we were shown our chamber, we found there
was no fastening on the door, but we placed a
chest against it, which braced against the foot
of our bed, concluding they should not come
upon us by surprise. We got but little sleep,
our apprehensions being increased by hearing

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several persons come up the stairs directly to
the door of our room, where they stood whis-
pering to each other for several minutes — they
then went down stairs, and soon afler came
and placed themselves in the same situation
again, without speaking to us or offering to
come into the room. These circumstances,
added to the noise and confusion which con-
tinued below stairs most of the night, caused
us to sleep but little. We did not feel quite
released from apprehensions of danger, until
we had rode some miles from the place, re-
membering that William Savery had been
cautioned to beware lest he should be popped
off his horse, for having interfered and cut
the rope with which a poor coloured boy was
tied, while receiving a severe flogging, for not
having the cows in the yard at the usual time.
The fear I endured was unusual for me, and
I believe had I not raised my voice in behalf
of the poor runaway, under feelings of such
resentment as I did, (though I do not think I
manifested any thing like wrath) I should not
have been left under the power of fear, fully
believing in the omnipotence of Him who limit-
eth the proud waves of the sea. I think the
sense of the protecting power of the holy One of
Israel was in great measure withdrawn, for in
seasons of far greater apparent danger of los-
ing my life, when my mind has been preserved
in humility and calmness, I have felt no fear,
but a cheerful resignation to the Lord's will.
The day afler leaving this dark and solitary
inn, being the first-day of the week, we crossed
James' river, at Lynchburg, and attended
Friends' meeting at South river. The meet-
ing was settled when we got there, and we
took our seats with as little interruption as
possible. The opportunity of sitting down
with our dear friends in reverence before the
Most High, was truly satisfactory and encour-
aging, and the little labour that was called for
at my hands was in feelings of brotherly love.
We were kindly noticed by Friends, and tar-
ried with them until the fourth-day following.
One morning as I sat alone in the parlour of
a Friends' house, I saw a woman ride up to
the door, on which 1 stepped out and assisted
her to dismount. She came in, and we were
seated facing each other at opposite sides of
the room. The descendings of heavenly good
soon spread over our minds, and I believe nei-
ther of us spoke for half an hour, but con-
tinued sitting in profound silence. My mipd
was dipped into feeling with her, and I fully
believed she was a chosen handmaid of the
Lord, and labouring under deep discourage-
ment at the prospect of becoming a public ad-
vocate for the precious cause of the Beloved
of her soul. Our mental eye, I believe, was
mutually directed to Him who openeth and no

man can shut, and shutteth and do Ynan can
open ; and when he is pleased to create the
fruit of the lips, blessed are they that obey;
biit at present my lips seemed sealed.

AAer some time thus spent, we engaged in
pleasant conversation, and I found she had
been at meeting the day before, and had now
come to have some of our company. My
mind became so interested for her, that I Went
to visit her at her own house: her husband not
being a Friend, and of a very volatile dispo-
sition ; no way opened for me to communicate
my feelings to her vocally, but I did so fully
and olearly in a letter I wrote to her a few
days aflerward, to which she replied, acknow*
ledging that I was favoured with a clear view
of the tried state of her mind.

On fourth-day we attended a small meeting
at Ivy creek, and the day following at Hills'
creek and Seneca, which were good meetings,
and so largely attended, that they had to make
booths around the doors for the accommoda-
tion of the people.

Af\er attending South river Monthly Meet-
ing, we had a very large public meeting in
the Mason's Hall, at Lynchburg. The power
and authority of Truth reigned, and the prac-
tice of holding slaves was shown to** be anti-
christian. Several meetings coming in course
this week, we preferred riding out of our way,
to appointing meetings at such places. We
were at Beaver-dam, Goose-creek, and Upper
Goose-creek, and had a public meeting in the
court-house at Liberty, where it was thought
a Friends' meeting had never been held before.
Whilst I was speaking a woman fell upon the
floor, appearing as if in great agony and
groaning in a pitiful manner, as is not un-
common in the meetings of some societies,
and frequently -has the efl^t to excite the
preacher to greater efibrts. It was, however,
the reverse with me, and I felt grieved. The
minds of the people appeared to be impressed
with a degree of solemnity, which made them
attentive to what was delivered, and prepares
the mind also to judge correctly, the Holy
Spirit bearing witness with their spirits, to the
Truth. It was painful to me to think of the
meeting being disturbed, and I therefore re-
quested the people to endeavour to keep still,
and if the woman was likely to faint, some
()ersons could take her to the door for fresh
air, upon which she arose from the floor, and,
apparently much confused, walked to the door,
where she sat quietly until the meeting con-
cluded. I am sensible that the influence of
the Divine Spirit will at times tender the mind,
as well as operate upon the body, and that
tears will flow so that it is almost impossible
to restrain them. It is, however, necessary
for us to guard against disturbing an assembly

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whose inrnds may be gathered into serious at-
tention to communications, which in Divine
Wisdom may be made interesting and in-
structive to them. God is a God of order,
and must be worshipped in spirit and truth,
an engagement to which stillness and quietude
are peculiarly appropriate, in meetings ap-
pointed for the purpose of promoting the
knowledge of the Lord and his ways, as well
as for the performance of that adoration and
worship which is due to Him. I cannot unite
with the confusion and noises sometimes heard
in assemblies professedly religious, and hailed
as the mighty effects of Divine power, which
it is to be feared proceed rather from the pas-
sions and will of the creature; and while
these are in an unsubjected state, the mind
cannot be benefitted, as the humble and con-
trite heart of\en is, when the benign Spirit of
the Most High operates as the refreshing dew
upon the tender herb— these are they that
'^ shall grow as the lilly, and cast forth their
roots as Lebanon."

We next had a meeting for the poor slaves,
held in Goose-creek meeting-house, on first-
day aAernoon, with the consent of their mas-
ters and overseers, several of whom attended.
The sight of so large a number together, as
nearly to fill the house, was unusual to me,
and their dejected countenances and ragged
appearance affected my mind, and awakened
tender sympathy for them, under which I ex-
pressed my desires for their everlasting wel-
fare — endeavouring, in simple language, to
impress on them the necessity of avoiding
every evil practice, in order that the great
God, whose compassions are toward people of
all colours and nations, might bless them, and
give them patience to endure affliction in this
world, and prepare them for that better world
which is to come, whefe they would be freed
from servitude and suffering. The poor crea-
tures paid great attention, and sat with unu-
sual quietude.

Being joined by John Lynch and another
Friend, we set out from this place for Ken-
tucky, on the 19th of eighth month; and on
the 21st, had a meeting at Montgomery coun-
ty court-bouse, on the Allegheny mountains.
In twelve days after leaving Goose creek, we
got to the settlements in Kentucky, having
crossed stupendous mountains, and traversed a
long dreary wilderness, where we saw many
wild beasts, and but few people — seeing but
one cottage in about eighty miles. We were
under the necessity of lodging in a miserable
hut, where there were eighteen of us, and all
but the woman and her child, slept on the
ffoor ; some in blankets, and myself and an-
other Friend on a bear skin, with our saddles
for piik>V8. We had nothing to eat, but a

scanty portion of sour milk, with a few ears
of green Indian corn ; the owner of our hut
having gone thirty miles to the nearest mill
to get a little corn ground. In the morning,
we set out without any refreshment, our
stores being quite spent ; and in the forenoon
came to another log house, inhabited by a
couple from Ireland, who appeared to be
above the lower class, having a number of
books upon a shelf, which I took the liberty
of examining, and among them was Samuel
Bownas' Journal. The man and his wife
very cheerfully set to work to get us break-
fast, as they kept a public house; but all they
could supply us with, consisted of some In-
dian cakes baked on a board before the fire,
and tea without milk, having neither meat
nor butter. A traveller who had joined us
that morning, kindly produced the remains of
his stores, consisting of a piece of bacon,
which he generously divided among us, being
about two mouthsful for each. This man
had heard of our intending to go through the
wilderness, and had rode most of the night
to overtake us, being desirous of having our
company, as the danger of travelling was con-

Online LibraryWilliam EvansThe Friends' library: comprising journals, doctrinal treatieses, & other writings of members of the religious Society of Freinds → online text (page 57 of 104)